David Wield
Open University, United Kingdom

BASF has been a latecomer to agrobiotechnology. Until mid-1998, BASF continued its longstanding focus on chemicals production with massive economies of scale, in particular, but also of scope. In 2000, it announced the acquisition of the Cyanamid (crop protection) part of American Home Products, roughly doubling its agrochemicals business to join the “big four” (with Syngenta, Aventis, and Monsanto). BASF moved into plant biotechnology in 1998, describing itself as a “fast follower,” with a commitment to focus on second and third generation products. Investment in biotechnology research and development (R&D) has increased rapidly, now totaling around 20% of life sciences’ R&D.

Key Words: Innovation strategy; agrochemicals; plant biotechnology.